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Why will Manipur violence not end any time soon?

by Editorial Team
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Why will Manipur violence not end any time soon?

In Manipur’s tumultuous history, one recurring chapter stands out starkly: the perpetual conflict with Kuki insurgents. The roots of this enduring conflict can be traced back to the ethnic tensions and political machinations that have plagued the region for decades. The Naga-Kuki conflict serves as a poignant reminder of this grim reality, where warfare spilled into Manipur over from Myanmar, leaving behind a trail of destruction and despair. During this tumultuous period, Nagas accused the government of complicity in bolstering Kuki armed groups, exacerbating the already volatile situation.
Remarkably, parallels between past and present circumstances are eerily evident. Once again, the spectre of narcotics trade looms large, casting a shadow over the region’s stability, along with the perennial struggle for control over strategic territories like Moreh. The influx of migrants into Manipur further complicates matters, fuelling simmering tensions and exacerbating existing fault lines.
Crucially, the Meitei UG’s aspirations for political autonomy away from the Indian Union are juxtaposed against the broader backdrop of other regional separatist movements. While Nagas and Meitei UGs have agenda for an independent country, Kuki UG seek to carve out their distinct political identity within the Indian state.
In the aftermath of the Naga-Kuki conflagration, peace agreements were brokered between various insurgent factions and the Indian state. Similarly, the recent Meitei-Kuki conflict witnessed tentative steps towards reconciliation, with the Pambei-led UNLF faction signing a peace accord.
This disconcerting pattern which emerges upon closer scrutiny creates the suspicions of the instrumentalization of Kuki militants as pawns in a larger geopolitical game. It is a suspicion which has been raised from many quarters that vested interests are exploiting these conflicts to coerce Meitei underground (UG) groups to the negotiating table. Until these groups are brought into the fold, the cycle of violence seems destined to persist unabated by calling it Meitei-Kuki conflict without state taking any responsibility.
Ultimately, the resolution of Manipur’s entrenched conflicts requires a concerted effort to address the root causes of discontent and marginalization. Only through genuine dialogue and inclusive policymaking can the aspirations of all communities be realized, paving the way for a more harmonious and prosperous future. Anything less would condemn Manipur to remain trapped in the relentless cycle of tragedy and farce. And it is farce given that everyone knows in Imphal that who is what in this fight, it is just that nobody can speak the truth to power in a conflict ridden state like Manipur. So, any end without truth is no end. It will linger and continue.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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